In Mexico City, the first signs that Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16) is approaching are restaurant signs announcing the arrival of chiles en nogada. The seasonal stuffed green chile poblano, invented by Puebla nuns, is drenched in a white walnut sauce and topped with red pomegranate seeds, featuring all the colors of the Mexican flag. They’re the culinary staple of the holiday.
Some of my fondest memories of celebrating Diez y Seis in the Mexican capital city include dancing, eating and drinking at the festive parties in neighborhood plazas that brought revelers together to eventually shout the Mexican cry for Independence, or “El Grito.”
Many cities across the U.S. have also embraced Diez y Seis and created their own traditions. In Austin, there are several ways to enjoy the holiday. Swing by Fiesta Gardens on Sept. 12, where the daylong pachanga starts at 11 a.m. Try all the good food and bring your dancing shoes. Tejano music giants Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz will headline the festival at 9:30 p.m.
At the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, the ¡Viva México! 2015 celebration starts at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 and will feature art, mariachi music and a youth orchestra. Mexico’s Consulate General Carlos Gonzalez Gutiérrez will also address the crowd.
Austinites will even be celebrating Diez y Seis on the south steps of the Capitol from 5-10 p.m. Sept. 15 with live music performances and ballet folklorico. At 9 p.m., Gonzalez Gutiérrez will re-enact “El Grito,” which was the call for independence that Father Miguel Hidalgo gave in 1810.
“Texas and Mexico are bound together by history, geography and traditions,” said Gloria Mata Pennington, chair of the Fiesta de Independencia Committee, in a news release. “The fact that the Fiesta del Grito is now held at the Texas State Capitol is an acknowledgement of the importance of that connection, the rich culture, and the contributions of Texans of Mexican heritage.”